A Studio City man has been charged with illegally possessing and mistreating a tiger cub after investigators spotted the cat in a 2017 YouTube video published by controversial internet celebrity Logan Paul, authorities said.
Nicholas Perkins, 32, could face up to 30 months in prison if convicted on the animal mistreatment charges, according to a news release issued by the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office.
In October 2017, investigators with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife received a tip about a model posing with a tiger cub on Instagram and were able to verify its location after spotting the animal in a YouTube video published by Paul last year, according to the city attorney’s office. The clip has been viewed 8.2 million times.
In the video, Paul can be seen rubbing the cat’s belly and letting it play with a small dog. Paul — who was met with global revulsion after posing alongside a dead body at a so-called “suicide forest” in Japan earlier this year — posted a disclaimer with the clip that the video was “filmed in a closed environment with animal professionals.”
“Tigers and other exotic animals are not pets,” Los Angeles City Atty. Mike Feuer said in a statement Wednesday. “Keeping these potentially dangerous animals in a residential setting poses a serious safety risk for residents and animals alike.”
The cub was rescued in November 2017 after investigators served a search warrant at Perkins’ residence, where anabolic steroids also were found. The cat allegedly had been malnourished, and Perkins was accused of feeding the animal “kitten milk replacement formula,” the city attorney’s office said. The cub has since made a full recovery at a sanctuary in Los Angeles County, authorities said.
It was not immediately clear whether Perkins has an attorney. He is scheduled to appear in court on Monday.
Frank Mateljan, a spokesman for the city attorney’s office, said investigators think Perkins purchased the animal through an out-of-state dealer, but he could not provide additional information.
Follow @JamesQueallyLAT for crime and police news in California.